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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for opinions on what is the best deal in used jeep tjs. What are the pros and cons model year to year. I am going to buy in the next couple of days. I am not interested in a rubicon because they are out of my price range. I am most curious about the transmissions ax15 vs nv3550. I have heard that the automatics suck. Is that true? My plan was to buy a 2000 or newer sport with the nv 3550, but have heard the ax15s were good trannys as well. Also i read in jp one of the editors wouldn't own anything but a 98 99 manual 4.0 tj. I don't know why that is, or what is special about the 98, 99 model year. I will be holding out for the rear dana 44. Any info would be appreciated!
 

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I would go with a 2001 or newer 4.0 sport or sahara model. Im not sure if the 4.0s in 2000 came distributorless or not but that is also something to look for. I would definetly get something with the NV3550.
 

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I love my 98 Sport with the AX-15 and all. As far as special, I don't know what it would be except that 1998 was first Year D44 was brought back as an option. Mine is the High output 4.0L which has a factory header versus the exhaust manifold that is prone to crack, but that isn't that big of a deal.
 

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I have a stock 03 Wrangler X forsale if interested? brand new 30" bfg A/t, auto tranny, A/C both hard and soft tops, 4.0L with 54000 miles!
 

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I love my 98 Sport with the AX-15 and all. As far as special, I don't know what it would be except that 1998 was first Year D44 was brought back as an option. Mine is the High output 4.0L which has a factory header versus the exhaust manifold that is prone to crack, but that isn't that big of a deal.
All 4.0's are "High Output" in 91+ Jeeps.
 

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I am looking for opinions on what is the best deal in used jeep tjs. What are the pros and cons model year to year. I am going to buy in the next couple of days. I am not interested in a rubicon because they are out of my price range. I am most curious about the transmissions ax15 vs nv3550. I have heard that the automatics suck. Is that true? My plan was to buy a 2000 or newer sport with the nv 3550, but have heard the ax15s were good trannys as well. Also i read in jp one of the editors wouldn't own anything but a 98 99 manual 4.0 tj. I don't know why that is, or what is special about the 98, 99 model year. I will be holding out for the rear dana 44. Any info would be appreciated!
nothing wrong with the auto in the TJs.
 

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If you are going to trash it on the trails you might as well buy the cheapest one you can find with a good motor and transmission of your choice. Over time you are probably going to upgrade axles, transfer case etc anyways.

Some people have bad luck with cracked manifolds others don't. Mine (98) lasted over 100k miles but was junk when I finally pulled it out. The 3550 gives you a little better gearing over the ax15. The earlier 3 speed autos work well but don't like water without modifications. Mixed reviews on the later model 4 speeds.

Buy one that the previous owner never took off road and build it as you like. Buy one that was wheeled and it may have modifications already done. You will be money ahead on parts buying one that was wheeled (transfer case mods, axle gears/lockers, sye, armor, steering upgrades etc etc) but you have to be careful things aren't trashed and reliability may be an issue. Modifications are not wise financial investments...they almost always loose value. It's cheaper to let the previous owner buy the stuff.
 

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Depends on what you are going to do with it.

If you are planning on cutting it up with a sawzall and trailering it to the trail and back i would find something that has a good motor and trans that looks like ass for good $, then 97 and up would do the trick.

IF you just want a small lift + 33" tires for some weekend trails, but will depend on this to get you to work and back I would look for '00 - 01 and newer. Try to find a sport or Sahara with a 44 rear and 3.73 gears. The gears will work fine for 33s. Being a newer rig it should have reasonable miles on it... Try to find full hard doors for street driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all of the advice! I have actually found a few rubicons for less than $15000 so if i can talk the wife into it, ill go that way. I am shocked to see the price spread on rubicons, I have seen 03 rubicons anywhere from $24000 to $14900. Most of them have 50 to 90 thousand miles on them. I am not sure if the rubicon package is worth the extra money though.
 
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